The exhibition at Colombia’s National Museum in Bogota, “Leo Matiz, a look at the infinite”, gives an insight into the remarkable life and work of a great figure in the history of Colombian photography.
Matiz, born in the same town as legendary Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, was an actor, editor and a painter, but it was his photography that earned him a reputation as one of Latin America’s most original and innovative artists.
Matiz was one of the first photographers of his time to travel outside of his home country, turning his lens on a variety of subjects ranging from intimate shots of Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s wedding day to the 1948 ‘Bogotazo’ riots in the Colombian capital.
In 1978 a street altercation left Matiz with limited vison in his left (camera) eye, forcing him drastically to change the focus of his photographical work. Matiz reinvented his style, developing a particular emphasis on light which earned him the moniker of ‘guardian of the shadows’.
According to his daughter, Alejandra Martiz, the photographer was not put off by his restricted vision, remembering her father’s preferred explanation that “luckily, he had a third eye, the magic eye.”
The exhibition contains 128 black and white photographs along with over a dozen unedited examples of his work and will be separated into five different thematic studies named Water, Earth, City, Entertainment and Post Modern.
Throughout his career, Matiz photographed many people of global significance, including María Félix, Luis Buñuel, Marc Chagall, Louis Armstrong, Álvaro Mutis, Pablo Neruda, Walt Disney, Enrique Santos Montejo “Calibán” y Lucho Bermúdez.
The exhibition is open to the public until May 19. Click here to see a few examples of Matiz’s work.
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